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Janesville City Council approves manager contract

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
October 14, 2008
— Janesville City Manager Eric Levitt will be paid $136,000 a year but be eligible for a raise of up to 4 percent after six months, according to an employment contract approved by the city council Monday.

Levitt will start Tuesday, Dec. 16. He replaces Steve Sheiffer, who retired in September after 21 years with the city.


Councilman Tom McDonald was the sole no vote on the contract, but he stressed that is because he disagreed with some terms of the contract not with hiring Levitt as city manager.


McDonald would not elaborate on what parts of the contract he disagreed with.


Contract provisions include:


-- The employment term will be for an initial period of five years—Dec. 16, 2008, to Dec. 15, 2013. After the first five years, the contract automatically will renew for one year unless notice that the agreement will end is given at least 90 days before the expiration date.


-- Levitt's base salary is $136,000. At the end of the first six months of employment, Levitt will be eligible for salary increase of up to 4 percent based upon a performance evaluation.


-- Beginning in 2010, Levitt will be reviewed annually Jan. 1 and be eligible for a general wage increase, and he will be reviewed on July 1 for a merit pay increase.


-- Levitt will be credited with 20 days of vacation leave after six months of employment; however, five vacation days may be used within the first six months of employment. Levitt will be eligible for five weeks of vacation at the start of his fifth year.


-- Levitt will get 20 days of sick leave at the start of employment. He will not accumulate additional sick leave until he has earned the 20 days through length of service.


-- If employment ends either voluntarily or involuntarily, Levitt will be compensated for accrued and unused vacation time not to exceed 50 days; accrued and unused sick days over 120 at the daily rate paid to administrative employees; all paid holidays not yet observed, and any other benefits according to city policy.


-- Days off include two personal days in any year where no sick leave was used in the previous year and one personal day if only one sick day was used in the previous years, according to Janesville policy. Janesville policy also gives Levitt 11 holidays, including three floating holidays.


-- Levitt gets a $5,100 annual allowance for an American-made vehicle.


OTHER BUSINESS

In other business, the Janesville City Council on Monday:


-- Agreed to pay Donald and April Halbach $8,720 in damages after sewage backed up in their basement in September at 1422 Honeysuckle Lane.


-- Agreed to pay $26,500 out of the general fund to 129 taxpayers whose sidewalk repair was more than what originally was estimated by the city. Jack Messer, director of public works, acknowledged that some mistakes were made, with 40 of those being major mistakes.


Messer said the city had evaluated the process to avoid similar mistakes in the future and will not make changes in the final bills again without first contacting the property owners.


-- Approved an agreement with the Janesville Youth Baseball and Softball Association to build eight new baseball and softball fields at the Youth Sports Complex. The association will raise $2.5 million and the city will chip in between $1.3 million to $1.4 million. A spokesperson for the group said youth would be playing on the fields in 2010.


-- Dissolved TIF No. 20, with $126,735 being returned to taxing jurisdictions. TIF No. 20 was created in 1999 for a new manufacturing facility for Morgan Corp. on the north side. About $3.8 million in new property tax base will be returned to the tax rolls.


-- Dissolved TIF No. 8, with $473,042 to be returned to the taxing jurisdictions. TIF No. 8 was created in 1992 to develop a 40-acre industrial park on the city's south side. About $7.25 million in new property tax base will be returned to the tax rolls.


-- Heard a report from councilman Tom McDonald, one of three council members who traveled to Sedona, Ariz., to interview residents about Eric Levitt, the man the council eventually hired to be the city's new city manager.


McDonald said he has heard people were interested in the cost of the site visit, which he said was about $2,500.


Council members charged the city for two meals and shared hotel rooms. Bill Truman paid for his own gas to the airport—Truman flew to Sedona from a different airport because he was on vacation—and Amy Loasching asked only to be reimbursed for the actual cost of the gasoline instead of the IRS mileage.


"Your city council is aware these are tough economic times," McDonald said. "Those who went on this trip did take a lot of the responsibility for themselves."


McDonald said he even skipped one of the meals and ate leftovers from the night before back in the hotel room.


"Just so people are aware, the council is trying to save money," he said. "But this is an important part of the process. I'm glad to say we got through it for less than what we had hoped."


-- McDonald noted that seniors had approached the council about the lack of parking at the senior center. McDonald said he talked to a nearby landlord at 200 S. Main St.—"also my father"—and the law firm McDonald & Gustafson is offering the eight spots in its lower parking lot to the seniors for parking.



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